“Take Me Back to the Start…”

The very first time I heard Saints of Valory, I knew it was love.  Every single time I hear them, it happens all over again.  This merry band of international rock stars has a pretty big chunk of my heart – a bigger piece than French fries and possibly Sharpies (this is a BIG statement, people…have you seen my Sharpie collection?).

A little over a year into my Saints of Valory crush, in 2012, they put out this song called, “Kids,” and I knew, in my gut, that I was hearing a mega-hit.  Fast forward 18 months, the guys are now on Atlantic Records, and “Kids” is rolling out as their new single.  They just debuted the video.  It’s gorgeous. (Disclaimer: I am completely biased, but I pretty much guarantee you this song will be STUCK in your head.)

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Buy the Possibilities EP on iTunes or Amazon

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What’s on Your Workout Playlist, Volume 4

My love-hate affair with working out is pretty well documented, and right now, I’m in a “hate but must do” phase.  I’ve been trying to get back to it in baby steps. Music is a must for me when trying to work up a sweat, so I spent some time over the weekend cultivating a new workout playlist. I have my old go-tos, of course, but I’m always looking for new music that gets my heart pumping – and from the search results I see on the ol’ web page stats, it seems like a lot of other folks are, too.

So, internet friends, I ask the question once more:  “What’s on your workout playlist?”

Some folks like hard, guitar-driven music while they work out, others like something with a good beat. Rap, rock, pop, dance – I’m a little all-over the place. Here’s what I’ve got so far on my latest workout playlist.

Follow this playlist on Spotify

Let me know what “new” song is a must have muscle-builder – leave a comment, shoot me an email, or hit me up on Twitter.

Friday Awesomeness: And the winner is … Atlantic Records!

Every once in awhile, a major label gets it right.

SAINTS OF VALORY HAS SIGNED TO ATLANTIC RECORDS!

If you follow this blog with any regularity, you know that I fell in love with this band’s music about 20 months ago.  Then I met them and fell in love with them as people.  These fellas make music with meaning and they care about songcraft.  They are a rare find in today’s music world and its nice to see a major label recognizing talent and possibility.

A huge congrats to Stephen, Gavin, Gerard and Godfrey…you boys DESERVE this and I know that the world is going to fall in love with you just like I did.  I’m so proud to be your fan and cannot wait to see what comes next for you.

To Atlantic Records:  Too many times, labels mess up good bands.  I’m begging you – nurture this band.  Support them.  Fight for them. Take chances on them. Be creative with them.  Let them be the incredible band they are. For me, as a fan, they represent a generation of new music that can help reinvent this industry.

GO GET ‘EM, BOYS!  MORE DANCING!  LOVE YOU!

Me with my Saints of Valory boys, August 2012

Me with ATLANTIC RECORDS RECORDING ARTISTS Saints of Valory, August 2012

SOV Love

A little love from rock stars never hurts a girl’s ego.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter

 

Charlotte Concert Alert: Saints of Valory & The Soldier Thread, August 15

An Austin double-header in Charlotte on August 15 might just leave you with two new favorite bands: Saints of Valory and The Soldier Thread.

August is shaping up to be a pretty fabulous concert month in Charlotte, kids.

Just announced yesterday, a hot, hot, hot Austin pairing will hit the Queen City on August 15th at Tremont Music Hall:  Saints of Valory & The Soldier Thread. Local kids S.O. Stereo will share the stage, as well.

If you somehow have missed it, Saints of Valory has SKYROCKETED to the very top of my “favorite artists EVER list” over the last 18 months.  This talented quad of fellas has won my musical ear with their spirited, ardent rock – and they put so much heart into their live performance, it just sent me tumbling head over heels for them. The guys are earning fans around the country – they have recently shared the stage with Michael Franti & Spearhead and were the Southwest region finalist for Billboard Music’s Battle of the Bands.

Tack on The Soldier Thread, an on-the-brink rock act with heavy doses of pop and electronica fronted by the golden-voiced of Patricia Lynn, and you’ve got a recipe for an absolutely KILLER show.

So, mark your calendars, kids.  Wednesday, August 15th.  Doors at 7:00, first band goes on at 8. Tickets are $8 at the door – $3 surcharge for under 21.  More info here.

The Ultimate Friday Awesomeness: Saints of Valory, “Kids” EP

Saints of Valory have my heart with this smashing release.

I don’t often have a hard time coming up with words.  But, I will confess that I’ve been avoiding writing this post, mainly because I don’t know how to fairly write a review of the Saints of Valory’s new EP, Kids.  The fact of the matter is, I’m completely in love with their music, and I find it very hard to be objective.

So, to heck with avoiding journalistic bias…I’m going to take the advice of one of their lyrics and “Just say what you feel!”

If the goal of music is to evoke emotion and inspire connection, then Kids is a gorgeous success. This little group of six songs is nothing short of intrepid – it will leave you smiling, dancing, remembering your past and loving your present.  Lead by aerobatic vocals and memorable lyrics, the EP thrums with sweet, sing-along harmonies and is punctuated by an absolutely impeccable percussion.  Toss in a few ripping guitar solos, and a singer who tears it up on bass just as equally as he lets loose with his singing, and it may just be perfect.  It’s an album that you put on and before you know it, it’s played five times in a row and the songs have penetrated your brain by osmosis.  How do you know?  You find yourself humming the them at your desk, causing near-fatal wrecks to clap along in your car, and subconsciously singing them at the grocery store before you realize that the little old lady buying green beans next to you is looking at you a little strangely…

There’s no warming up, it just gets right in your face with a killer opening drum sequence that launches the EP’s title track, “Kids.”  (Aside: live, it’s even more epic – drummer Gerard Bouvier is whaling the heck out of the kit while lead guitarist Godfrey Thomson and keyboardist Stephen Buckle simultaneously tar the heck out of some floor toms). Lead singer Gavin Jasper invites you to experience the music with him, crooning, “Welcome to my story, to the story of my life…” and telling the tale of being “just kids, with our hopes, with our dreams, with our faults,” you’re right there, remembering when you were just a kid, too.

“Kids” is followed by the “More Dancing, Less Falling,” a delectable lyrical morsel which is sure to become a summer anthem for a large majority of their fans.  And by God, I do find myself dancing when this song is playing!  Sandwiched in the middle are the EP’s two most mainstream tracks, and the ones that are likely to inspire the most earworms – the fast-paced “Sweetest Sin” and a reprise of “Neon Eyes.”  With added layers of drums and guitars, “Neon Eyes” is now an amped up version of the acoustic track released earlier in 2011, but it retains its signature – and incredibly infectious – hand-clap rhythm.

When I first heard “City, City,” a mellow love song to the band’s home town of Austin, I didn’t love it.  But it’s grown on me, and being a lover of Austin myself, I can completely relate to it.  Stephen’s key work on this track is really spotlighted…the dude doesn’t get enough love for how freaking fabulous he is.  “Watch It Burn,” probably my favorite track on the EP, is the perfect end cap – it somehow feels like a culmination and a fresh start at once.  It starts slow, but then quickly ramps up and showcases brilliant guitar playing from Godfrey. The song doesn’t end as much as it crashes, finishing with building guitar that screeches to a halt and one final cymbal hit, closing the EP where it started on the drum kit.   And just like that, the EP is over…and you’re a little sad.

In today’s musical landscape, it’s rare to find artists that truly have the chops to back up their music.  Auto-tune, fancy editing software and production have become the norm, but with Saints of Valory, you get an absolutely true-to-life representation of their musical abilities…and Kids showcases exactly how much the Saints have to offer.  They’re able to write songs that are fresh and familiar all at the same time, which is why you hear so many people call them “radio ready” and compare them to Coldplay and the Killers, I think.  However, Saints of Valory’s songs have something more for me, something that brings them to life in a much bigger way – heart and passion.

And that, my friends, is what makes Kids so utterly bombastic and loveable.  Heart.

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Buy Kids in hard copy or on iTunes and Amazon